An unhoused man in Phoenix, Arizona, is receiving praise after he stepped in and saved a family of three from a raging fire. CBS News reports Claudia Jimenez woke up on Thursday (May 18) morning to a raging fire within her apartment.
Terrifyingly, she also discovered that the only exit from her second-story apartment was blocked. As a result, she desperately began to call for help from one of her windows.
“I opened my window, and I started yelling, ‘Please, someone help me! There’s a fire—I can’t get out through the front. I need someone to help me.”
Shortly after that, Joe Hollins—a homeless man camping nearby with his wife—arrived to lend a hand. He recalled, “All I see is a lady pull open the window, and she’s screaming, ‘Please help me!'”
Joe Hollins Caught The Family As They Jumped To Escape The Fire
Hollins swiftly sprung into action, Jimenez recalls. He ran right underneath her window and instructed her to drop the children down.
“He was right underneath, and he was like, ‘Yes, throw your daughters out, I’m going to catch them, I’m going to get them.'”
She carefully dropped down her infant, Valerie, followed by her 8-year-old daughter, Natalie. Jimenez was sure to rescue her two dogs as well.
However, when it came to be her turn, Hollins says the mother-of-two hesitated as she was worried about falling.
“She didn’t want to come at first,” Joe said. She was scared she was going to fall. I was like, ‘I got you. Don’t worry.'”
Jimenez then descended, and—as promised—Hollins caught her. After the whole family was rescued, the fire department arrived and extinguished the flames.
Thankfully, there were no casualties, though many residents lost plenty of their belongings.
In the aftermath, Jimenez said she’s eternally grateful to Hollins, whom she called “an angel,” for stepping in.
“I will forever be thankful to him, you know? Like I said, to me, he was an angel.”
She added, “Because of him, we’re here. We’re alive, and my daughters are safe.”
However, Hollis brushed off the praise, as he said anyone capable of doing so would have assisted. After all, he pointed out, “Those are children.”
As for the cause of the fire, CBS News says the matter was still under investigation as of Saturday morning.